• Home
  • Projects
  • Balancing Economic, Environmental, and Social Sustainability In The European Aquaculture Industry


Balancing economic, environmental, and social sustainability in the European aquaculture industry

Key facts

Proposal no: SBEP2023-349

Status: ongoing

1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024

Intervention Area:
PA4 - Green transition of Blue Food production


Sustainable development of aquaculture is one of the main objectives of the common fisheries policy. Despite rather high profitability, the industry has been confronted with several (and mounting) environmental and ethical issues. It is therefore a need to strengthen the legitimacy of the aquaculture industry, reduce its negative environmental impact and increase its positive societal impact. To address this need, AQUABALANCE will identify barriers and drivers for ongoing transition processes, investigate dilemmas associated with rebalancing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions, analyse how the aquaculture industry can ensure legitimacy, and explore the role of policy for these transition processes. The project follows a pan-European perspective by focusing on different geographical locations and different sea-basins (North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean), and maps existing and promising solutions boosting the sustainability and viability of the aquaculture industry.  Specifically, based on a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, it will create new knowledge about how the European aquaculture industry can develop onwards in ways that are not environmentally harmful, and contribute to value creation and value capture both locally, nationally, and internationally. By combining several theoretical perspectives (economic geography, socio-technical transition studies, and literature on sustainable business models), the proposed project will provide valuable research-based insight and action points on an efficient and smart industry policy in order to successfully cope with the societal challenges of promoting economically robust, environmentally friendly, and socially inclusive industrial activities. Moreover, the project follows the multi-actor approach and includes a substantial degree of stakeholder engagement through various activities such as workshop and seminar series and a policy lab, which will allow a high potential for impact beyond the academic world and contribute to the uptake of AQUABALANCE’s research findings. As a result, AQUABALANCE will provide pan-European and regional industry and policy advice and a policy roadmap that has a transnational perspective and also can be adapted to the regional specificities. These recommendations will serve as a background for a more sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry, contributing to achieving the goals of the EU Farm to Fork strategy, solving grand challenges of climate change and social justice, and thereby generating significant value for the whole society.

Project partners

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences


Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick


The Seafood Innovation Cluster


Università Degli Studi Di Verona


University of Copenhagen